Rafael Nadal will not be back in the final at the Mutua Madrid Open after losing his semi-final clash with Andy Murray in an exciting two hour and eleven minute two-setter that was reminiscent of last year’s final (7-5, 6-4).
“In the first set he played better than me”, commented Nadal in a press conference when asked to summarise the match.
Andy Murray got off to a fine start, reaching 4-1 in the first set. The Spaniard, urged on by the fans in a packed Manolo Santana Stadium, managed to break back to level the score at five games apiece. However, it would be the Scot who eventually took the set. In the second, Nadal dug deep and enjoyed plenty of chances to break Murray’s serve, although he only converted one of nine. “On those break points, he either dominated the whole point or served an ace, I didn’t make any errors. In the second set I needed a bit more luck at times”, noted the Manacor native.
“The match was tight and could have gone either way and in the end it was decided on a few critical shots. He served very well and that is an advantage here in Madrid. I didn’t play my best but I didn’t play badly either, I put up a fight but came up just short. Maybe I could have pressured a bit more with my forehand”, said the Spaniard, who believes he was close to beating the world number 2 “without playing a great match”.
Speaking about his general outlook after the defeat, Nadal said he was satisfied with the way the season was panning out: “I managed to reach another semi-final, I’m being consistent and I’m on a positive line. I’m confident, I’m training well and doing things well. I’ve won more points on clay than last year. The season is going very well, we’ll try to keep the same level and improve on it.”
Next up on the ATP Tour for Nadal is the Rome Masters, a tournament he has won on seven occasions during his career.